The 17-course luxury experience serves different courses in different rooms.
What does fine dining mean to you? If it’s haute cuisine, silver service and white tablecloths, then you’re in luck. Celebrity chef Jason Atherton’s new restaurant, Row on 45, is that and more. Located in Grosvenor House, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Dubai it offers a 17-course menu and is a gastronomic gamechanger.
Jason is no stranger to Dubai – he opened City Social, and ran Marina Social. The phrase culinary journey is overused in Dubai, but it is apt for his latest venture. Row on 45’s concept is all about a carefully curated experience, and draws inspiration from Savile Row in London, which is famous for its tailored suits. As a result, we are keen to go on opening night – and love it.
On arrival, we are given a wax sealed envelope with our name, date and menu, meeting our dietary requirements. The menu combines modern European and Japanese influences. This is a chance to sample Jason’s Greatest Hits – albeit, remixed. General Manager, Liam Christopher, shares: “You’ll learn the story behind Jason’s take on the dish, what his inspiration was and his travels around the world – there’s always a backstory.”
Row on 45’s simple yet sophisticated decision to have different courses in different rooms, makes it feel like three theatrical acts. The site spans the Palm Champagne Room, Chef’s Kitchen and Chef’s Library, and each is as plush and playful as the next.
The Palm Champagne Room, which boasts breathtaking views of Palm Jumeirah, sets the mood. The décor includes fringed seats, velvet soft walls and a portrait of Marie Antoinette smoking a cigarette, no less. The canapes range from the Brown Crab (spicy sensation) to Hokkaido Scallop (silky smooth). Plus, glasses of Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut Champagne flow freely.
The Chef’s Kitchen is at the heart of the experience. We count ten chefs – including Jason himself – in the open kitchen. Executive Chef, Daniel Burke, and his team explain the dishes with passion and precision. Even though there is tableside preparation, at times, the details are swallowed by the non-stop pop soundtrack.
With the marble island, soft seats and views of Ain Dubai, it’s a spectacular setting. The mains are served on pretty plates, and drinks are poured into fine glasses. If you’re partial to premium ingredients, they are firmly in the spotlight – caviar, teardrop peas and freshly shipped sea urchins, anyone?
The beauty of the menu is how it goes from accessible to exclusive. On the one hand, the Cheese and Onion, with 100-year-old balsamic vinegar and a Bourgogne Chardonnay, elevates Jason’s favourite comfort food – Mother’s Pride crisp sandwiches served with a cup of tea. On the other hand, Gambero Rosso with its oh-so soft meat is an ode to Jason’s time at the world-renowned Ferran Adria’s El Bulli in Spain.
Kinmedai takes us back to this time at Marco Pierre White’s restaurant – while it’s lightly cooked, it’s a little on the oily side. The highlights include the fresh Samegarei, rich Saroma Wagyu A5 and the Brioche with its cushioned yet crispy texture, which is served with a chicken butter.
The Chef’s Library brings the evening to an end. The luxurious living room showcases more views of Dubai – this time, Burj Al Arab. A roaming trolly has tipples ranging from fine cognacs to whiskies, and the petit fours come in an old-school jewellery box. The chefs went to the spice souk in Deira, and created tasty treats including Date Miso Bonbon, Saffron Pistachio Bonbon and Spiced Cashew Nut Bonbon.
Don’t let Row on 45’s double-digit courses intimidate you. While they could easily be edited, they are light and long. The dinner takes four and a half hours and the memorable meal wows us – my guest enthused that it’s the best vegetarian menu they’ve tasted.
Row on 45 is a masterclass in refined yet relaxed luxury. The designers could have settled on an English aristocratic-inspired house, but added eccentricities. The features range from a Dalmatian shaped lamp to a little statue of Jason. The bathroom has peacock door handles, funky artwork and perfumes. Plus, the shelves include old MICHELIN Guides, which highlight the team’s ambition
Warning: you may suffer from FOMO. The menu starts from AED 1,145, and the wine pairing by the expert and enthusiastic sommelier is an added AED 1,245 for the Adventure package and AED 3,545 for the Connoisseur package. Guests cannot book for booze, and have to let the evening run all of its courses. Translated: you must be dripping in dirhams.
Row on 45 fills a gap in the market, which we did not know we needed. Dubai’s restaurant scene is bursting with Insta-tricks, from dry ice to digital dining experiences. So, visiting a restaurant where food, finesse and, most of all, fun is at the heart is refreshing.
Next time you wonder what fine dining means to you, think of Row on 45 – a MICHELIN Starred restaurant in waiting.
GO: Visit www.rowon45dubai.com for more information.